Pass-rush help one of Saints’ top needs

Posted Jan. 21, 2011 @ 11:55 a.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

With uncertainty about what the nature of the free-agent rules will be in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Saints' top needs this offseason are subject to change. They could have as many as 28 unrestricted free agents, depending on the guidelines in the new CBA. Team observers are largely in agreement, though, that finding pass-rush help — most likely at defensive end, although they also could find it at outside linebacker — is sure to be a priority. We're told DE Alex Brown, who started every game, gave the Saints exactly what they expected from him after signing last offseason. He helped the run "D" improve and has another year on his deal. The other starting end, Will Smith, is still one of their biggest assets in the front seven. Those two produced only 7½ sacks last season, however, and the entire defense struggled to get consistent pressure on quarterbacks. This is a spot the team could target early in the draft.